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Tag Archives: book review

Hidden Strengths by Thuy & Milo Sindell

    • Hardcover: 128 pages
    • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (May, 2015)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1626562830
    • ISBN-13: 978-1626562837
    • written by Thuy & Milo Sindell

 

I don’t read a lot of self help books, fair or not, to me once all the fluff is blown away, they are pretty much the same. But, this little book peaked my interest…and boy am I glad! Thuy and Milo Sindell have introduced a new concept in self improvement, The Hidden Strengths Methodology.

Hidden Strengths challenges you to think differently, most self improvement programs focus on your weaknesses, Sindell says this is where we err. According to this plan, 10% is weakness, 20% is strength, with 70% hidden in the middle. This is where your untapped potential lies. So, instead of focusing on the weaknesses, which is frustrating and has slim chance of bringing any real changes, we should be concentrating on that center 70%, these skills are closer to being strengths already. Wow, what a concept!

Sindell explains quickly, concisely, and in easy to read language what you need to do. Hidden Strengths is an investment in your future and at under 100 pages it doesn’t require you to invest a lot of time. In addition you also have access to the online assessment which gives you a list of hidden strengths you already have in your arsenal. Then you narrow the list down to the skills that are vital to your professional goals at this time…and presto! You are on your way to uncovering and honing your Hidden Strengths.

In a nut shell – If you buy only one self improvement book this summer, let it be this one. You will not disappointed!

Happy Reading,

RJ

 

Hidden Strengths Book - Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have

 

 

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Zoo by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge (audio)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1478906170/?tag=rjsviews-20

Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781478906179
  • ISBN-10: 1478906170
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: May 2015

the main character still trying to distance himself from his fathers’ legacy as a crackpot, is giving safari tours

Zoo is a half-baked, science-fiction suspense-thriller, that with some comedy relief and backwards humor could’ve been a very good “spoof,” I really wanted to like this book, but the one dimensional characters were impossible to care about. The artificial pacing and choppy dialogue made it difficult to stay immersed in the story. I have been a James Patterson fan since the  irst Alex Cross novel. Over the years there have been some books that weren’t as good as others, but in recent years there seems to be more bad than good. Only the name on the cover is familiar, – Gone is the masterful storytellers’ voice I had enjoyed so very much.This is especially true with Zoo. I understand this is a collaboration, that there will be a lot of Michael Ledwidge’s influence, however, in previous works I could at least recognize Patterson’s input. Zoo is not absolutely terrible, it’s ok. But with so many number one best sellers to his name, I expect more than okay.

Happy Reading,

RJ

http://www.facebook.com/rjsviews

Also available in Hardcover


    What’s on  RJ’s Wish List?

New Release from Best Selling Author Joseph Finder –
The Fixer


//

 

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The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari (audio)

The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari (audio)

The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari   Audio Book Review

Richard Montanari’s Website

doll maker

Wow, I’m sorry to say this is the first book I’ve read by Richard Montanari, but it certainly won’t be the last, I have already reserved Rosary Girls at my local library. Honestly, I really missed the boat with this author – but now that I have secured a quiet listening corner, I’m in for the long ride.

Although this is the eighth book in the series, it works as a standalone. There’s enough information about the characters to carry the reader through. And these are well drawn, three dimensional, and easily relateable. Philadelphia Homicide Detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne are interesting, work well as a team, and have a palpable respect for one another. Byrne is more experienced, kind hearted and determined. While Balzano is opinionated and shrewd, with an equally warm heart.  I particularly liked the absence of romantic entanglement.

Richard Montanari weaves multiple angles together into a disturbing tapestry of missing children, murdered children extravagantly posed on painted surfaces, and a convicted child killer weeks away from her final walk. Are they connected? Time is running out for Balzano and Byrne to find out. Throughout the reader discovers information only moments before the detectives. Montanari gives the reader credit and doesn’t spell everything out letter for letter. The Doll Maker is more about motives and concepts, than actual brutality and violence. The latter being the tools used to create his ‘art.’ The creepy tea dance invitations he leaves at each scene add yet another layer to an already colorful piece.

This is disturbing on so many levels – there were entire chapters that gave me goose-bumps (and I don’t frighten easy). Montanari has a gift – the ability to write realistically, believable stories that are the stuff nightmares are made of, but sadly could be the lead story on the news tonight. The Doll Maker is an outstanding book. Period. No matter what opinion you read, good or bad..if you enjoy suspense/thrillers – read this one for yourself.

*DO NOT form your opinion based on the prologue. Yes it is graphic, gruesome and extremely disturbing, but this does not fairly represent the rest of the story.

Happy Reading!

RJ

Goodreads

Hachette Audio

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Memory Man by David Baldacci

Memory Man by David Baldacci


Memory Man
by David Baldacci
read by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy
11CD’s, Approx. 13.5 hours (unabridged)
ISBN: 9781478929987
ISBN: 1478929987

*Also available in hardcover

David Baldacci (Website)

Hachette Audio (Website)

Best selling author David Baldacci has an innate ability to create interesting characters, there’s even something different about his bad guys… it isn’t that they are more evil or that his books contain more graphic violence – quite the opposite. Baldacci’s writing is classy. It is easy to identify with his characters, to feel for them, to be invested in what happens and Amos Decker is no exception. That said, this book is unlike any of Baldacci’s earlier works, it’s a breath of fresh air in an often stagnant genre.

Amos Decker suffered a crushing helmet to helmet blow ending his pro football career the first time he suited up. How his brain receives and interprets information was forever changed. He was diagnosed with rare cognitive phenomenons known as syynethesia and hyperthymesia. He can’t forget anything. Which for the first two decades of his career in law enforcement was a gift.

Then came that horrific night, when Detective Decker, returning home from a stakeout walked into a nightmare from which he has yet to awaken. His family had been murdered – his beautiful wife Cassie shot in the head, 9 year old daughter, Molly strangled and his brother-in-law’s throat had been slashed. Why? Who had done this? Despite their best efforts the case remained unsolved. His life spun out of control…he lost his home, his job, and nearly his mind.

That was 15 months ago. Now working here and there as a private investigator, Decker is trying to find his way out the darkness when his former partner, Mary Lancaster tells him a man named Sebastian Leopold  has confessed to killing his family. While trying to talk to this confessed killer, there’s a school shooting as his alma mater, Mansfield High. From this point forward everything speeds toward the resolution.

I have always loved David Baldacci’s writing style – he takes risks…thinks outside the box. And Memory Man is definitely outside the box, I had never heard of these cognitive conditions and after much reading on the subject, I still don’t understand it. But that’s ok. This was an interesting read that sparked my imagination and while it did seem to go flat in few chapters, for the most part everything was tied together and resolved by the last page. I can’t say exactly what made this novel fall short for me, except that it just didn’t have the “fire” I have come to expect when reading a Baldacci book.

Happy Reading,

RJ

Goodreads
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Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver

Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver

Best Books of the Year So Far

Click to Visit Amazon’s 2015 Best Book List

Solitude Creek is the fourth book in the Kathryn Dance series and not my favorite. The idea of a killer that sets the stage for people to cause their own death is thought provoking…. Would it be every man for himself, a literal dog eat dog type mentality? Sadly, time and again it plays out just that way. When local roadhouse patrons try to escape what they think is a fire, only to find the exits blocked, several are killed and numerous others injured, as fear and panic replaced rationale and human decency. All to the delight and amusement of “event murderer,” Antioch March.

California Criminal Investigations Detective Kathryn Dance has been placed on Civil Division Duty, unable to carry a weapon or work criminal cases. Forced to the sideline as the gang related drug smuggling case she was heading moves forward without her. However, she is able to stay in the loop on that case and consult with local authorities on the Solitude Creek stampede. And her usually mild mannered, well behaved kids (a son and daughter), pick now to start acting different…causing Mom a few more worries. Oh, she also has two men vying for her time and affection.

It felt to me like Deaver just tossed things on the wall and hoped something would stick. Compared to the Lincoln Rhyme series, Kathryn Dance doesn’t measure up. True they are very different characters, and that is great, but where Rhyme is a well rounded character, Dance feels like a bunch of strings that never form anything. With the first book, Bone Collector, I cared about the participants and what transpired in both their professional, as well as, their personal lives. Again, there’s a disconnect between me and Dance. Solitude Creek could have been a really good book, but not with Kathryn Dance in the lead. Having the audio version made it a lot better, because the narrator did an exceptional job keeping me in the moment, whereas left on my own with the hard copy I would have had a difficult time finishing it.

**Antioch March is an “event murderer”, meaning he causes the event, but the choices people make cause their deaths.

Visit Jeffery Deaver’s Website

Visit Hachette Audio’s Website

Happy Reading,

RJ
Goodreads

The Bone Collector

The FIRST Lincoln Rhyme novel


Overview
Jeffery Deaver, “the master of manipulation” (Associated Press) and “the most creative, skilled and intriguing thriller writer in the world.” (Daily Telegraph, UK) returns with the new, long-awaited, Kathryn Dance thriller.
A tragedy occurs at a small concert venue on the Monterey Peninsula. Cries of “fire” are raised and, panicked, people run for the doors, only to find them blocked. A half dozen people die and others are seriously injured. But it’s the panic and the stampede that killed; there was no fire.
Kathryn Dance–a brilliant California Bureau of Investigation agent and body language expert–discovers that the stampede was caused intentionally and that the perpetrator, a man obsessed with turning people’s own fears and greed into weapons, has more attacks planned. She and her team must race against the clock to find where he will strike next before more innocents die.
Details  Unabridged Audio
  • ISBN-13: 9781478903598
  • ISBN-10: 1478903597

Radiant Angel (John Corey Series #7)

 

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Suspicion by Joseph Finder

Suspicion by Joseph Finder

http://www.josephfinder.com

Review repost

I had the pleasure of reviewing this books several months ago. I am reposting the review today because Suspicion has been nominated for the 2015 Barry Award for BEST Thriller. And Suspicion has been nominated for the coveted 2015 Thriller Award for BEST Hardcover Novel. CONGRATULATIONS!
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Hope to Die by James Patterson

Hope to Die by James Patterson
  • ISBN-13: 9781611130362
  • ISBN-10: 1611130360
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: November 2014
  • Page Count: 8
       visit the author: James Patterson
    audiohachette.jpgDon’t miss the new audio book from Hachette!

Can you believe we had to wait a year for answers? Thankfully it was well worth the wait. Hope to Die is James Patterson at his finest. Cross My Heart left me checking the box for another CD, wondering who wrote it. Now Hope to Die has me hoping for the next book, next week!

Hope to Die is one of the most emotionally charged suspense/thrillers I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in a long time. James Patterson definitely switched his writing back to what made fans fall in love with Alex Cross in the first place. Everything fans hated about Cross My Heart has been replaced by solid writing that grabs you from the opening scene and continues to hook you, chapter after chapter. Hope to Die is written in classic Patterson style, with crisp, short chapters. Michael Boatman and Scott Sower do an incredible job narrating. The way they use their vocal talents to make each character stand apart from the other, making it easy for listeners to form an attachment to the good guys and hate the bad guys.

Alex Cross’ world has descended into the seventh circle of hell. He’s lost the two things he holds dear…his family and his badge. Thiery Mulch, one of the most demented psychopaths ever to match wits with Cross abducts his family and vows to kill them if Cross doesn’t meet his every demand. So when mutilated bodies are discovered, everyone is convinced it’s Cross’ missing family. The lines between right and wrong have always been pretty well defined for Alex. But with the lives of his loved ones at stake, that which was so black and white, begins to gray.

Patterson has delivered a damn good book with Hope to Die. The action is unrelenting and there’s so much tension in every chapter, I felt emotionally exhausted at the conclusion.

If you’re a Alex Cross fan Hope to Die is the book you’ve been “hoping” James Patterson would write. Don’t miss it!

hope to die

 

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Blue Labyrinth by Preston & Child

Blue Labyrinth by Preston & Child
  • ISBN-13: 9781478904250
  • ISBN-10: 1478904259
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

audiohachette.jpg
Narrated by Rene Auberjonois

visit:  Preston & Child online

Best Books of the Month
Named an Amazon Book of the Month

I’ll not waste time repeating the dust jacket or give away spoilers, this is simply my thoughts about Blue Labyrinth.

The suspense/thriller genre is crowded with interesting, exciting protagonists, but Agent Aloysius Pendergast, is in a class of his own. A Chongg Ran practitioner, with an extensive knowledge of food and wine, and unparalleled verbal skills. His appreciation of finer things always on display – designer suits, handmade shoes, a grand mansion on Riverside Drive, a lovely apartment in the Dakota, and his chauffeur driven 59 Rolls Royce.

Blue Labyrinth is the 14th novel in this series and while all of them have been “good”, some definitely shine brighter than others, as I’m sure is true of any long running series. The story weaves together the murder of Pendergast’s son, (Alban), and that of a Museum of Natural History technician. It was great to see P&C return to the roots of the series. But I still expected Agent Pendergast to be the star of Blue Labyrinth. He is not. Fighting for his life on the sideline, the spot light shifts to long time friend, Detective Vincent D’Agosta (NYPD), Dr. Margo Green (Curator, MSH) and Constance Greene (Pendergast’s ward). These three beloved characters take center stage as they try to assemble a puzzle with seeming unrelated pieces in time to save Pendergast. It was an entertaining read that revealed more about the characters than it did about the villains.

Blue Labyrinth is a solid read, with vivid depictions, three dimensional characters and plenty of the eccentricities I’ve come to expect from Preston and Child. Rene Aberjonois has one the most distinctive voices in narration. His ability to breathe life into fictional characters takes the listener inside the book from cover to cover. He uses tone, tempo, accents and pitch to make each character an individual and every setting a beautifully drawn scene. Blue Labyrinth is a good book and even better audio experience. There are flaws, but none so flagrant as to turn me away from the series. At times it felt like the authors were preparing for the demise of Aloysius Pendergast and maybe that was their intention. I’m just glad it didn’t happen in Blue Labyrinth, so there’ll be a #15.

Happy Reading,

RJ



Also available in hardcover

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455525898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455525898
 

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A.D.30 by Ted Dekker

audiohachette.jpg

Often referred to as the Christian Thriller author, Dekker seems to have embraced the title and run with it – right onto the best seller shelf with A.D. 30. Both thriller and biblical fiction, this incredible piece of work will have you on the edge of your seat from Maviah’s exile, through her perilous journey across the Nafud dessert, right to the court of King Herod. Dekker’s depiction of the dessert is so vivid you can almost feel the heat rising from the sand as the camels lumber across the dangerous terrain. During Maviah’s conversations with Yeshua Dekker’s talents truly shine, as he weaves the gospel of Jesus seamlessly into the fictional world of A.D. 30.

Dekker’s characters are strong, believable, and easy to care about. A.D. 30 is Biblical Fiction at its finest. Ellen Archer’s narration brings the words to life. She utilizes pitch and inflections to differentiate the various characters and their ways. The audio book is an incredible listening experience, not to be missed.

Happy Reading!

RJ 🙂

also available in Hardcover

  • ISBN-13: 9781599954189
  • ISBN-10: 1599954184
  • Publisher: Center Street
  • Publish Date: October 2014
  • Page Count: 432

 

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Beautiful Memoir

Beautiful Memoir

  • ISBN-13: 9780525427209
  • ISBN-10: 0525427201
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Publish Date: March 2015
  • Page Count: 288

Books-A-Million PRESIDENT’S PICK
“I read George Hodgman’s extraordinary memoir in one seamless glorious sitting. You will want to take your time and savor your experience with this amazing family, this moving story and its timeless lessons. Bettyville is full of love, and grace, and tenderness. Unforgettable and engaging in its humor and in its heart.” –    Terrance G. Finley, President and Chief Executive Officer

Beautifully written memoir that touches the heart, tickles the funny bone and causes you to pause and reflect. George Hodgman, an unemployed, recovering addict, leaves his fast paced Manhattan world behind, returning to his childhood home in Paris, Missouri, to care for his elderly mother, Betty. The role reversal alone is very difficult, parent becoming the child and child talking on the role of parent – but there are other factors that make this situation even more trying… George can’t select an outfit or prepare a meal without enduring his mother’s criticisms. At times he’s able to hold his temper in check, while at others, the two really butt heads. But the real elephant in the room is George’s homosexuality. Although he’s been “out” with his parents for years, it’s a silent subject (one everyone is aware of, but doesn’t discuss).

George’s story is much more than that of a son returning home to care for his mother…it’s a personal journey of acceptance. He finds peace within himself and with his mother. As the novel progresses you feel a personal connection with these people – which, for me, is the defining aspect of a good book. And while there are no “ah-ha moments”, nor gold at the end of the rainbow, there’s a feeling of satisfaction that all is as it was intended.

This is a good book that I really enjoyed reading. Having taken care of my grandmother the last several years of her life, so much of George’s story was my story. The surface issues were different…but at the core it was the same. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good book.

 

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The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
The Burning Room audio excerpt

audio excerpt

 The Burning Room
author: Michael Connelly
narrator: Titus Welliver

Hachette Audio Books

 

 

www.michaelconnelly.com

 

It’s hard to believe one of crime fictions most popular detectives is nearing retirement. Most 20 year veterans of the LAPD are ready to take it easy, maybe ride a desk – Not Harry Bosch. The department just assigned him a new partner, 28 year old Lucia Soto. She seems eager to learn and while Bosch accepts the role of mentor his sixth sense keeps nudging him…that something isn’t quite right. But Bosch has to put his uneasiness aside when they are handed the politically charged murder case of Orlando Merced. Shot, in a outdoor plaza nearly a decade earlier, Merced finally succumbed to his injuries. Although the shooter had never been identified, it was thought to be a gang bullet gone “astray.” But when the coroner removes the crucial piece of evidence the gang shooting or random violence theory is crushed.

While all eyes were supposed to be focused on the Merced case, Bosh discovers Soto investigating an unsolved arson/murder case. As a child, she survived the fire that claimed the lives of nine children and one woman, in an unlicensed, dingy, basement daycare. Being a bit of a softie, but more importantly being a seeker of justice, Bosh makes room on his crowded plate for this case. But as the two begin to dig into both cases, they become convinced that amidst an ever widening web of guns, fire, murder and politics is a common thread. We follow the rookie and the veteran as they pull the individual pieces together, providing a measure of justice for the victims and a replacement for Harry.

The Burning Room isn’t a bad book, but it certainly isn’t the action packed novel Connelly fans are accustomed too. I kept hoping the next chapter would change the tone and feel of the story, but sadly it seems Harry Bosch is tired, ready to take his gold watch and close the detective chapter of his life story.

Happy Reading,

RJ

Narration by Titus Welliver 🙂

Titus Welliver’s vocal talents are shining bright in The Burning Room. He brings each character to life by individualizing them with an array  of accents, pitch inflections, tempo and tone. With Bosch’s retirement looming, there’s almost a somber tone throughout and Welliver does an excellent job of making the reader “feel” it.

The Burning Room

 

  • Series: Harry Bosch (Book 19)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 17, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455524190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455524198


Harry Bosch Series:

The Black Echo (1992)
The Black Ice (1993)
The Concrete Blonde (1994)
The Last Coyote (1995)
Trunk Music (1997)
Angels Flight (1999)
A Darkness More Than Night (2001)
City Of Bones (2002)
Lost Light (2003)
The Narrows (2004)
The Closers (2005)
Echo Park (2006)
The Overlook (2007)
The Brass Verdict (2008)
Nine Dragons (2009)
The Reversal (2010)
The Fifth Witness (2011) (one page brief appearance)
The Drop (2011)
The Black Box (2012)
The Gods of Guilt (2013) (one page brief appearance)
The Burning Room (2014)
The Crossing (November 2015)

 

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For the Dead by Timothy Hallinan

Poke Rafferty series by Timothy Hallinan

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616951146
  • ISBN-10: 1616951141
  • Publisher: Soho Crime
  • Publish Date: November 2014
  • Page Count: 347

Series: Poke Rafferty Thrillers

 

Comfy Corner Review by RJ

 

Heat up your cold winter evenings with this red hot thriller. IF you are familiar with and a fan of this series…you are in for an early Christmas treat – if you’ve never read a Poke Rafferty novel, you’ll be hooked after reading “For The Dead.”

The first novel, A Nail Through the Heart, made me an instant fan of this series. Timothy Hallinan is one   of the best, most creative writers of our generation. The lead character, Poke Rafferty rates right up there with other beloved protagonists (Alex Cross, Detective Pendergast, Jack Reacher, and Harry Bosch).  A travel writer, living in Bangkok he’s put together a happy family over the past six novels.  He married Rose, a beautiful former patpong dancer,  who now runs her own cleaning business, helping other women, like herself, escape the sex trade industry. Together they adopted Miaow, a street kid, much older than her tender age of thirteen. His family is the axis upon which Poke Rafferty’s world turns –and it gets turned upside down in this book.

Teenagers are moody, make poor choices and keep secrets – and Miaow is no exception.  She helps her boyfriend, Andrew, get a new phone on the sly and discovers photographs of two murdered police officers stored in the memory. Now, someone wants the pictures, phone and anyone who knows about it erased…permanently. What follows is an emotional roller coaster for readers – happy, sad, angry, shocked, frightened…there’s nothing missing here. Timothy Hallinan lives part of the year in Southeast Asia – he has a genuine love of the culture and for the people of Bangkok. He takes you behind the glossy brochure covers, revealing a nation struggling to find its way on the worlds stage. For centuries rural farming was the economic backbone of Thailand. But today, kids are kidnapped, sent by desperate families or simply run away, only to find themselves trapped in the vicious circle of the sex trade industry. Hallinan weaves  conspiracies, corruption and murders with a devoted, loving man determined to save his beloved Miaow, his wife and their unborn baby,

If you enjoy a truly good book, with plenty of spills and thrills, twists and turns – but, is believable, then For the Dead is definitely for you! 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Overview

After seven years in Bangkok, American travel writer Poke Rafferty finally feels settled: his family is about to grow larger, and his adopted Thai daughter, Miaow, seems to have found her place at junior high school at last. All that is endangered when Miaow helps her boyfriend buy a stolen iPhone that contains photographs of two murdered police officers. As Miaow’s carefully constructed personal life falls apart, Rafferty discovers that the murders are part of a conspiracy that reaches the top rungs of Bangkok law enforcement and beyond. Miaow’s discovery threatens the entire family, and in order to survive, they may ultimately have to depend on someone who has betrayed them in the past.

 

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For The Sender, 4 Letters, 12 Songs, 1 Story

For The Sender, 4 Letters, 12 Songs, 1 Story

OverviewSometimes a letter is like a prayer; it’s more for the sender than the receiver. Singer-songwriter Alex Woodard was letting go of his best friend, a Labrador named Kona, and most of his dreams when he received a letter that would change the course of his life.  What began as a song about that letter evolved into a book and album package about real-life letters, featuring Grammy-winning artists and a live show that has sol d out every performance and inspired thousands in its first few months.

Details
Author:  Alex Woodard
Full Length Album included
FOR THE SENDER

ISBN-13: 9781401941215
ISBN-10: 1401941214
Publisher: Hay House
Publish Date: September 2012
Page Count: 127 Hardcover

For the Sender is a woven mix of creativity, a memoir of sorts, but more a baring and cleansing of the soul through music and dialogue. Woodard takes the reader on a journey of healing, giving hope where once there was none, literally changing ones mind on a spiritual level. Inspiring each of us to channel our energy in a positive way, instead of concentrating on the negative. Showing us that the reason the hateful clerk becomes such a lasting and central part of our day is because their behavior was so jarring. While the kindness of others is often overlooked or missed entirely because it is conveyed in simple, often quiet ways. For the Sender challenges us to not only notice, but to become part of the positives.

The music on the CD is incredible. I put on the headphones and listened to the music while reading the book. (Which I highly recommend) I feel this gave me a real understanding of how the stories inspired the music and how music really is the backdrop of our lives. The stories remind us that as long as we are breathing it’s never too late to alter our course. This is an awesome reading/listening experience, there’s something here that everyone can relate too. It asks the reader to look inward and  realize just how amazing your life truly is. For the Sender is a short read (only 127 pages) that’s reverberations will be felt for a very long time.

Happy Reading!

**Contributors: Sara and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), Jon Foreman (Switchfoot), Jack Tempchin (songwriter for the Eagles), Jordan Pundik (New Found Glory)

Click to watch this video

Alex Woodard, Biography

Singer-songwriter and author Alex Woodard has toured nationally behind five critically-acclaimed albums, earning prestigious industry nods and shared the stage with some of today’s most popular acts. Joining a family of prominent musicians in his small beach town home, Alex created For The Sender, a unique book, album, and concert event that features his story of release and redemption woven through songs written about real-life letters. “It started with one letter,” Woodard explains, “and evolved into something bigger than I could have imagined.” Alex was overwhelmed with the letters he received and had no idea it would later turn into a whole new songwriting life.”
Alex lives with a big dog and a bigger horse in the mountains of Idaho. When he is not writing and playing music, he can most likely be found surfing, riding his horse, and reading the incredible letters people keep sending him.

 

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No Way Back by Andrew Gross

No Way Back by Andrew Gross

 

  • NO WAY BACK
  • Author:  Andrew Gross
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061655988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061655982

PAPERBACK EDITION

  • ISBN-10: 0061656046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061656040

Also available as E*Book

No Way Back

Too many? Everything. This book is a like reading a hurricane in the midst of an earthquake, while preparing for a cyclone. There are so many things going on…big ideas,(good ideas), that individually fleshed out, plotted carefully, with special attention to the small details that build the characters, could’ve been two very good books. Unfortunately, what we have is a fast paced, loosely plotted, shoot ’em up body count book that just doesn’t read like an Andrew Gross novel.

Two strangers, brought together by a swirling mix of coincidence and bad luck, are trying to prove their innocence, which may very well get them killed. That is the basics of Andrew Gross’ No Way Back. The two strangers, Wendy, a suburban housewife (ex-cop) and Lauritzia, a nanny (illegally in this country) working for a lawyer and his family. These women will find a way to not only stay alive, but out maneuver Mexican drug cartels, out smart murderers with ties reaching high into the U.S. government, rogue Homeland security agents and goodness knows what else. It’s a hodgepodge of cliche’s and unrealistic plot twists. There’s no depth to the characters. Halfway through the book it became difficult to continue because I simply didn’t care what was going on, nor what was going to happen next. And I wasn’t the only one, the lead ladies in the story didn’t seem to care that their family members were being hunted and killed.
The substance is missing- and without it, I’m left holding a book that is simply readable. Nothing more. If you’ve read Andrew Gross books in the past, read a few “reader” reviews of this book before you start reading it… so that you will lower your expectations.

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Interview: author, PC Cast

Mills & Boon Nocturne

Visit Author, PC Cast on~line


  • *Can we expect the same mix of ancient and modern mythology that have become such an integral part of your other novels?

Yes, sort of.  In THE AVENGER my modern heroine travels back to 60 AD Briton and Boudicca’s time.  I very loosely follow historical events, with a touch of magic and mysticism.

  • *Would you call yourself a student of ancient history and myth? Do you enjoy the research necessary to keep the characters “honest?”

I would call myself a fan of mythology.  I am intrigued by certain periods of history, and I do enjoy researching, but I would by no means call myself a historian.  I think history translates more easily onto the page through mythology, and much can be learned about a people through the myths they tell.  For instance, what you learn about me through the myths I create is that I believe in empowering and valuing women.

  • *The Avengers is hotly anticipated – many writers have said this type of anticipation makes them very nervous – fear of not measuring up to the “hype” – how do you feel?

I’m used to being a bestseller and have found that it works for me not to pay attention to hype or critics.  Every time I write a book I set out to tell the story I’d most want to read.  I believe in doing my best each time and letting the cards fall where they may…


  • *The series centers around strong, female lead characters that return to ancient periods to retrieve pieces of a medallion that could alter history – how did you come to select Briton?

I was approached to write one of the Time Raiders novels for Nocturne because I am a military veteran (all of the authors of the TR series are vets).  I was interested because the idea of vets writing with military heroines sounded fun, and then when I saw that Boudicca was one of the choices proposed for time travel I was intrigued as I had been researching her because I decided her daughters would begin the House of Night Dark Daughters.  So I happily signed on!

  • *Do you find it easier to write as part of a team or solo?

Actually, I don’t really co-author with Kristin.  She serves as my teen voice editor.  I do all the writing, and when I’ve finished she goes through the manuscripts and comments on voice and pop references

  • *If you had a chance to work with any writer (living or dead) who would it be and why?

Ray Bradbury!  He’s a genius and I’d love to observe his writing process.


  • *What’s the best advice you have ever been given by another writer?

Just sit down and write the damn book.

  • *Here’s the: “on a deserted island question” – If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have 3 books to read for the rest of your life, what three books would you select?

Well, first of all, three wouldn’t be enough so I’d have to write lots of my own.  But let’s pretend like a series counts as one book, so I’d choose:
1) Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER books,
2) All of Christopher Moore’s books,
3) Tanith Lee’s THE SILVER METAL LOVER

  • *Can you give us a hint about what is next for PC Cast?

Beginning in December my Goddess Summoning Series will be released in the UK, starting with GODDESS OF CAMELOT.  I love this books and hope my UK fans will enjoy them, too! I’m working on pre-production for a film adaptation of one of my Goddess Summoning Books, GODDESS OF THE ROSE, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Thank you, for stopping by The Den and sharing a few minutes with us – Can’t wait to dive into “The Avengers!”

Visit PC Cast Online

Visit UK Publisher Mills & Boon


“You are about to enter a place of power, a place beyond imagining.”

Alex thought communicating with the dead was the worst of her troubles. She couldn’t have been more wrong!

She’s just been sent to 60 AD by a secret army unit to recover missing pieces of a medallion that could change the world.

Alex must use her gifts to entice Druid Caradoc into helping her. Yet soon she’s torn between duty and the man who’s been haunting her dreams. Returning to the present is the noble thing to do, but her heart tells her to stay in this enticing new world of goddesses and warriors.

TIME RAIDERS
Only they can cross the boundaries of time; only they have the power to save humanity.




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The Ghost Writer by Robert Harris

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING EWAN McGREGOR & PIERCE BROSNAN

Ghost Writer by Robert HarrisThe Ghost Writer

by Robert Harris

read by Roger Rees
Audio 5CD’s

ISBN: 0743583043
ISBN: 978-0743583043

Simon & Schuster Audio

Visit author, Robert Harris



Click here to listen to an audio clip of The Ghost WriterCLICK HERE to Listen to
an audio clip of The Ghost Writer

Simon & Schuster Audio



Robert Harris’ latest novel, The Ghost Writer sounds like an insider’s account, with all the sordid, juicy stuff we all want to know but will not admit we want to know. Mixing some recent history with fictional characters, in a real world, easily recognizable setting and the result is an entertaining listening experience!

The retired, disgraced British Prime Minister tapped his trusted aide, Mike McAra to help him write his memoir. After the mysterious, untimely death of McAra, a new ghostwriter is hired to iron out the wrinkles, add a little more detail and put the finishing touches on. The ghost joins Lang and his entourage, which consisted of a small security detail, several secretaries, his assistant and many speculated mistress, and his wife, Ruth, on Martha’s Vineyard, where they have rented a mansion. Adam Lang has created this cocoon, surrounding himself with those who are necessary or wanted, eliminating everyone else, including the citizens who turned on him.

Adam Lang’s smooth, charismatic demeanor catapulted him to the top of the political ticket, where he enjoyed high approval ratings. Then the world changed, as the war on terrorism branched off in an unpopular direction, taking with it Lang’s political popularity and casting a long, dark cloud over his legacy. Already being tried in the court of public opinion, the people unabashedly blame Lang for their suffering, as the UK has been the repeated target of terror attacks. And then it goes from bad to worse…Lang may be asked to stand before the International Criminal Court and answer to the charge of war crimes.

Robert Harris is as light with his pen as Fred Astaire was on his feet! Giving us a view of the inner sanctum is like pulling the curtain aside, revealing to the world there is no wizard…when all is said and done we are all human. And that’s what is at the heart of this story…people…living, breathing and flawed.

Narrator Roger Rees brings the characters to life, painting each with stunning audio detail, making them memorable and believable. The audio will keep you riveted,  twisting your thoughts and emotions in a new direction with every chapter. You will laugh out loud,  nod your head in agreement and shake your head in dismay, often all three within moments of each other. Even if you have read the book, the audio offers you a whole new experience!

Happy Reading,

RJ

Love2Listen Accustomed to aging rock-stars, the ghost is out of his element in the political arena, however, he will soon discover the two have more in common than he ever imagined! Ugliness and secrets abide here too…the difference…politicians “bury their stories.”



Flippin' Pages

Author, Robert Harris allows us a bit of insight into his thoughts on the difference between good and bad books –

And what they have in common, these bad books, be they novels or memoirs, is this: they don’t ring true. I’m not saying that a good book is true necessarily, just that it feels true for the time you’re reading it.

– and he couldn’t be more right! The Ghost Writer definitely rings true, the characters are believable, displaying the kind of behavior we have come to expect from politicians. Of course, the actions aren’t always good and more often than not it is the mistakes, mess ups and out right corruption that catapult their memoirs to the top of the charts.

Additional covers:

The Ghost Writer by Robert Harris
Also by author Robert Harris, Conspirata –

Conspirata by Robert Harris (SS)National Bestseller

Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Description

On the eve of Marcus Cicero’s inauguration as consul of Rome, the grisly death of a boy sends ripples of fear through a city already wracked by civil unrest, crime, and debauchery of every kind. For Cicero, the ill forebodings of this hideous murder only increase his frustrations and the dangers he already faces as Rome’s leader: elected by the people but despised by the heads of the two rival camps, the patricians and populists.

Caught in a political shell game that leaves him forever putting out fires only to have them ignite elsewhere, Cicero plays both for the future of the republic and his very life. There is a plot to assassinate Cicero, abetted by a rising young star of the Roman senate named Gaius Julius Caesar — and it will take all the embattled consul’s wit, strength, and force of will to stop it and keep Rome from becoming a dictatorship.

Robert Harris once again weaves a compelling and historically accurate tale of intrigue told in the wise and compassionate voice of Cicero’s slave and private secretary, Tiro. In the manner of I, Claudius, Harris vividly evokes ancient Rome and its politics for today’s listeners, documenting a world not unlike our own — where the impulse toward dominance competes with the risk of overreach, where high-minded ideals can be a liability, and where someone is always waiting in the wings for a chance to set the world on fire.



Also from Simon & Schuster

Available June 1, 2010

The Starlet by Mary McNamara

The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver *A Lincoln Rhyme Novel*

Simon &  Schuster Audio

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